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Healing touch: Aesthetician volunteers to help cancer patients with skin care

Battling cancer is bad enough without having it also ravage your skin. Chemicals such as chemotherapy affect those cells as well as cancer cells, so certified aesthetician and Summerlin-area resident Lia Yulianti volunteers her time to teach cancer patients how to care for their skin.

Yulianti is the owner/operator of the Belia Skin and Beauty Studio, 8751 W. Charleston Blvd., No. 210. She volunteers her time facilitating Look Good Feel Better classes up to three times a week to teach cancer patients the proper way to care for their skin. The classes are administered through the American Cancer Society, which refers patients to them.

“The (chemotherapy) treatments can make their skin dry, cracked and make it change color,” Yulianti said. “And those undergoing radiation, they’ll have skin that looks like a wound; it gets, like, inflamed. … I feel so sad for them because if they don’t take care of it, it can get worse.”

The classes can last up to 2½ hours and are usually held in the evenings at three businesses: 21st Century Oncology (various locations), Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (various locations) and The Caring Place, 4425 S. Jones Blvd., No. 1.

They see between three and 10 attendees per session. Yulianti advises them to buy products that have no active ingredients, such as glycolic acid, which is very drying to the skin. Organic products, she said, are preferable. Hydrating the eye area is also vital, she said, as is using a toner to balance the skin’s pH.

Attendees receive a goodie bag with a $250 value that contains non-irritating makeup and skin care products meant to promote healing. Attendees who need them also can select a free wig, offered through an ACS wig bank partnership.

Elka Salomon attended a class. She went to the emergency room on Dec. 5 with breathing issues. Doctors found a mass, ran tests and came back with sobering news: It was lymphoma, a particularly aggressive kind.

“I’m 27. I’m married and have a 5-year-old child,” Salomon said. “It came out of nowhere.”

She had a port put into her body through which the chemotherapy was administered over a five-day period. She was scheduled for six rounds. Within two weeks of the first round, Salomon said she noticed her skin was getting dry and flaky. She said attending the Look Good Feel Better presentation helped her better understand how to care for herself while she was undergoing treatment.

“At the end of the class, they’ll come up and hug me,” Yulanti said, choking up. “… I wish I could find a cure for cancer.”

She follows up each class by offering a free facial, valued at $80, at her business. The facial includes a massage element that also promotes well-being.

“I’ve created my own protocol, using the knowledge I gained from (studying) in Indonesia and Georgia,” Yulianti said. “I use lymphatic drainage techniques and pressure points.”

Cancer patients are not obligated to return as regular customers, Yulianti said, adding that many don’t have funds after paying their medical bills. But still, she said about 20 percent of those who opt for the free facial become clients.

After her third round of chemo, Salomon opted to take Yulanti up on her free facial offer. She said she was not one to pamper herself but thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“She’s an amazing girl,” Salomon said. “It’s rare to see young people give so much of their time to do good.”

For more information about the skin care classes, visit lookgoodfeelbetter.org. For more information about Belia Skin and Beauty Studio, visit thebelia.com or call 702-368-2639.

To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email jhogan@viewnews.com or call 702-387-2949.

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